Scriptures About Family

When God created mankind, His plan was for us to live in families. Since God created marriage and the family, our family relationships are important to Him. His desire is for every marriage to be happy and loving and for children to grow up within a loving family structure, secure in the knowledge that they are loved by God and by their mother and father. God love you and your family. He cares about your home and wants you to have a strong family. He will help you to accomplish this most important task. God has given us His commands and guidelines for strong families in His Word, the Bible. If we follow what the Bible says about families, God will bless and strenthen our families. Family has great spiritual meaning fo believers because the church, the universal body of believers, is called the family of God. When we receive God’s gift of salvation, we are adopted into His family. The Bible tells us that we become sons and daughters of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. God’s plan for family includes your family right now, and you will be a part of God’s forever family as His adopted child.

Bible Verses for Strong Families

1) Commit your family to serve and honor God.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

2) Live in Obedience to God and make the Bible your guidebook for life.

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1:8

3) In everything that you do, seek to honor God.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”
Colossians 3:23-24

4) Allow the Love of God to flow through your life.

“Walk in love.” Ephesians 5:2

5) Be kind and forgiving to others.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God has forgiven you for Christ’s sake.” Ephesians 4:32

6) Pray for you famil and for others, asking for God’s wisdom in your relationships.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

7) Forgive each other.

“If anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Colossians 3:13

OTHER BIBLE VERSES ABOUT FAMILIES AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” (NLT)

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (NLT)

Psalm 103:17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— (NIV)

Psalm 127:3-5 Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates. (NLT)

Psalm 128:3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. (ESV)

Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. (NIV)

Proverbs 11:29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise. (NIV)

Proverbs 12:7 The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm. (NLT)

Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (NIV)

Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (NLT)

Mark 3:23-25 Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart.” (NLT)

Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, and everyone in his household believed in the Lord. Many others in Corinth also heard Paul, became believers, and were baptized. (NLT)

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (ESV)

Romans 9:4 They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. (NLT)

Ephesians 1:5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. (NLT)

Ephesians 2:19 So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family. (NLT)

Ephesians 3:14-15 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:1–2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandmentwith a promise) … (ESV)

Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to angerby the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. (NLT)

Colossians 3:20 Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. (NLT)

1 Timothy 3:2-5 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. He must manage his own family well, having children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? (NLT)

1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (NASB)
BIBLICAL GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES

Marriage is a Covenant and is Not to be Broken

1) Marriage is a Biblical Covenant to Be One

“…she is your companion And your wife by covenant.” Malachi 2:14

2) God Hates Divorce

“For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.” Malachi 2:16

Bible Verses for Wives

1) “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. Ephesians 5:22 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.” 1 Peter 3:1-2

2) “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” Ephesians 5:23-24

3) “Let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4) “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 1 Peter 3:3-4 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.” 1 Peter 3:5-6

5) Build Your House The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. Proverbs 14:1

Bible Verses for Husbands

1) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… ” Ephesians 5:25

2) “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Ephesians 5:28-29

3) “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge… ” 1 Peter 3:7

4) ” …giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. ” 1 Peter 3:7

Bible Verses for Children – Obey and Honor Your Parents

1) “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

2) “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3

Bible Verses for Fathers – Fathers Admonish Your Children to Know and Serve God

“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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This post was compiled and edited by C. Boyd

The scripture verses on this page and some of the content in the beginning paragraph come from these two sources:

http://www.usachristianministries.com/2011/11/30/what-does-god-say-about-families-bible-verses-on-families-bible-verses-for-family/

http://christianity.about.com/od/Bible-Verses/qt/Bible-Verses-Family.htm

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Hopefully…

hopefulIt’s just a little change in the word (and in thinking); but for me, this could be BIG!

Certain common phrases can pop into our minds regularly: “hopelessly lost, hopelessly behind, hopelessly chaotic, hopelessly delayed, etc.”

But what about hopefulness? No one is hopelessly lost as long as we continue to hope to find or be found.

HopeFULLY behind means I’ll never give up.

HopeFULLY chaotic means joyfully busy!

HopeFULLY delayed (or injured, or ill, or limited, or challenged) means the human spirit + God’s spirit can conquer obstacles that men name ‘impossible,’ ‘improbable’ or ‘highly unlikely.’ (Yes, Logan!)

Since we’ve been born again to a a living hope (I Peter 1:3), we are NEVER hopeless!

We may feel hopeless, but we have Christ in us, the hope of glory! (Col. 1:27)

Years ago, I bought a chapter book (about a pioneer girl facing challenges) for our daughter. The name of the book was “Be Ever Hopeful, Hannalee.”

We have every reason to be hopeful (Jeremiah 29:11). The Lord wants to give us a future and a hope!

It’s my new motto: “Be ever hopeful, Cindy B.”

See our page called “Hope” for Scriptures and quotes about hope @ https://familysong.wordpress.com/hope/

Our Very Special Logan

THIS is the face of a special needs child.  Many people have tender hearts for special needs children and care deeply about the infinite blessing and value of their lives.  The caring and compassion of others is a blessing to me and to our family as a whole.  Logan senses immediately when someone really cares about him.
As someone who is acutely aware every day of the ‘differences’ and needs that make our Logan special,  I am also constantly reminded of the fact that at the core of his being, he is just a little boy who happens to deal with some challenges. Logan loves chocolate pudding, giggles, Buzz Lightyear, hugs, and music.  He eats but does not chew.  He still wears pull-ups at age 6.  He loves running and jumping, swinging and sliding, and riding toys.  He is totally at home on the beach but never plays in the sand.  He spends all of his time in the water, loving it and laughing when a wave smacks him in the face.

Logan is sometimes patient and tolerant and sometimes very much the opposite. For example, when the photographer moved him 3 times during the set-up for our family photo shoot, Logan began to lose his good humor. He probably was thinking, “Why can’t this guy figure out where to put me?”  Like other children his age, Logan had no inkling of how difficult it must be to pose a family of 8 with such a broad age range; but unlike other children, his reaction is 10 to the 15th power. At restaurants or other public places, Logan is often the perfect little gentleman.  At other times, he can be upset and loud. In this, he is not unlike other children his age, but his reactions are more extreme. When other people give our family “the look” in such a circumstance, I am sometimes tempted to tell them that Logan has special needs.  Not once during an outburst has anyone come up to us with the boldness and grace to ask, “How can I help you?”  On one occasion, the answer would have been as simple as going to find a restaurant employee to have them obtain the spoon that Logan needed to eat his food, but I am sure that many people are very hesitant to approach for fear of seeming intrusive.

 

Because I understand the hesitancy to intervene and because I don’t want to make assumptions about others, I have never looked at another patron and told them about Logan’s special needs.  There are two main reasons why I hesitate to publicly announce that Logan has autism, although I would have no problem answering any question posed in public. One reason that I don’t volunteer information about Logan is that I don’t want to make someone else feel badly. Their natural assumption that Logan is just a bratty kid does not mean that they are not kind-hearted people. Who knows what they are going through? Maybe this dinner out was to be an oasis of calm and a brief escape from the bedside of a loved one.
The second reason that I never want to verbally excuse his behavior by blaming his challenges is that to do so might imply that the fact that Logan has special needs makes him somehow LESS (less intelligent, less controllable, less patient, less valuable, less human, less capable of learning or of love, expression, or giftedness, somehow less than his same-age peers).  In truth, I have learned so much from loving Logan, and I know that he is in reality somehow MORE (more loving, more enthusiastic, more focused on what is truly important..like a half hour rocking with Mom…)

Logan as Buzz Lightyear

Logan is like a little mirror.  I see in him what I need more of and what I need to let go; what I need to work on, and what I need to just accept or allow myself to enjoy.  He is a priceless treasure.  I have learned to look beyond the seaweed and sand of issues and behaviors into his sea blue eyes, to the infinite value of his heart and soul.

I am still learning from my precious little teacher.  Yes, Logan has some special needs.  So do I.  I need to be more loving, more patient, more focused on what is true and just and lovely.  I need to keep learning to look beyond, to see the limitless value of each human life.

Logan is more than a clinical diagnosis.  He is a little boy.  He is my little sweetheart, and he is someone.  He is loved and valued deeply by his family and friends and by his Creator.  Yes, Logan is VERY SPECIAL!

*

UPDATE:  Since the facebook note that became the post above was written, there have been a lot of changes.  Logan is now 8 years old.  We left pull-ups behind long ago, and he has no problem voicing his need to go to the restroom.  Logan is doing very well in his Moderate Autism 3rd grade class.  He reads well, is doing double digit additiona and subtraction with re-grouping (borrowing or carrying), can count money and tell time, and he’s becoming more and more conversational in his speech.  Logan just started a new therapy program to overcome his extreme oral sensitivity so that he can begin to chew and eat normally, and we are excited about this opportunity for major progress.  Logan is a blessing!

When a Loved One’s Health is Failing

(Note:  This post was first published on our primary blog.  We have added it here because families do deal with changes in the health status of loved ones and with the grief and loss that accompanies a health crisis.  Such a traumatic time can also hold some sweetness as families have an opportunity to share their love with one another and as parents teach their children the lessons of God’s love, human love, mortality, perseverance, heaven, and hope.)

Dear friend, this is a very hard subject to talk or write about. If you are reading this, I know that you are hurting. I am praying for you even as I am writing. I pray that you will be able to make the most of the time you have with your loved one. I pray that you will have close friends and/or family who will be there for you when you need the comfort of knowing that someone else in this world knows what you are going through and cares deeply for you. I pray that you will have a very profound awareness of the presence of God. He is the God of all comfort, and I pray that you will have His peace even in the moments of stark reality when possessing any peace truly will be something that is beyond human understanding.

I pray that God will grant you wisdom for those times when you don’t know what to say or do and wisdom in comforting others (such as your children or siblings) who are walking through this valley with you. I pray that you will know that you do not carry your burdens alone. When you have Jesus as your forever friend and Savior, you are never alone. He is God with us. The Holy Spirit is also called the Comforter, and I pray that you will experience the lightening of your load as you give it all to Him each day.

I pray that whatever the road ahead holds for you and your family, you will have some opportunities for sweet moments along the way, and that you will be comforted in the joy of your memories as time passes. I pray for the strength of your relationships and that the experience of walking through a deep valley together will bring you closer. I pray for times of refreshing and worship even in the midst of your valley. I pray that you will know how deeply you are loved.

The Bible tells us of two things that Jesus is doing right now in Heaven.

*  He is preparing a place for those who love Him, and He is praying for us.

As we face difficult times and even tragic loss, we must remember that the time we spend apart from our loved ones will be a millisecond in the forever song of eternal life with God in the wonderful place that He has prepared for us. When a loved one is very ill or may be nearing the end of their life on earth, such a painful ripping away of the fabric of your life is a heavy burden, but it is a burden that you do not bear alone. Jesus is praying for you, and He wants to take your burden and exchange it for God’s peace as you choose to trust that God is good and that He is working all things together for good. As much as you love, with the great depth of feeling and compassion that you have, longing for the best for your loved ones….you and your loved one are loved infinitely and eternally more than you can imagine!

My own father passed away in 2004. In the last months of his life, there were some things that my siblings and I did very intentionally to make the most of the time that we had and to communicate love and caring to both of our parents. Some of these things we were able to do seemed to bring a significant amount of comfort to my Dad or to be especially meaningful or comforting to my Mom, and I will share those ideas with you. There are other things that we failed to do and that we saw in hindsight as something left undone. I will share those as well. This is not a comprehensive guide, but I want to share with the reader some lessons that I learned with the hope that they will be helpful to you and your loved ones. Whether you are a primary caregiver, a relief caregiver, or part of a support system as a family member or friend, you can find some help with the information shared in this post. It’s full of lessons learned about the most important areas of concern and ideas for addressing the needs that arise when a loved one is ill.

A.  TAKE TIME!
Tips for making the most of the time you have together

Making the most of the time with your loved one can be very difficult to do. Many people feel very uncomfortable being around someone who is very ill or who has been given a tough diagnosis.  Remember that your loved one probably feels much more uncomfortable than you feel.  Physical discomfort can be very difficult, but even more difficult is the knowledge that your illness is a source of emotional grief for loved ones.  In addition, it is very difficult to have others doing things for you that you would much prefer to do for yourself if you were not ill or injured.  So, keeping in mind that this experience is very difficult for everyone, resolve to be there for you loved one as much as is possible and practical for you as well as encouraging and helpful for him or her and for other care-givers.

If you loved one is still ambulatory, take your cue from them about what they would like to do and feel well enough to do.  Keep in mind that the amount of time away from home or expending energy may differ significantly from before their illness or injury.  Some ideas for them might include:  a concert, picnic at a favorite place or in the back yard, going to church, visiting a friend or relative,  a shopping excursion,  a board game night, a movie theater or movies at home, etc.  Remember that if you are not the primary care-giver, you should ask (privately) whether the primary caregiver would want to come along or would want to take a break while your loved one has some special time with you and your family (assuring them that they are very welcome to come but that you will not be offended at all if they need some down time).  One big help is to provide transportation to medical appointments.  The primary care-giver may come with you but enjoy a break from the driving.  It can also be very helpful to have one care-giver get out of the car and go into the building with your loved one while another parks the car.  Make sure that if you are giving a break to a primary care-giver by taking your loved one on an outing or to an appointment, you must ask about any concerns for the trip or necessary equipment, medications, etc. to take along.  You will need to be equipped with the knowledge to care for your loved one while away from home.

If your loved one is not feeling well and is spending most of their time in a chair or a bed, what can you do?

Here are some suggestions for that scenario and for caring for your loved one at home regardless of their mobility level:

1. The very nearness of your presence can be a comfort to your loved one even if he or she is only able to interact in a very limited way.  Even if your loved one seems upset or grumpy, they still want to see you.  They are just dealing with a lot emotionally and physically.  Ask if they need rest and would like to continue a visit later.  If they want you to stay, do so.

* visiting with children
It is important to be sentitive to the need for rest, so if you bring your children, talk to the caregiver(s) for your loved one ahead of time. Find out the best times of day to be there in person. Then, when you visit, make those times of day your priority. Play a board game with your children or build with blocks or color pictures in the room with your ailing loved one. Let your loved one experience the giggles and fun of watching the little ones. Let your little ones help. If a drink needs to be taken to Grandpa, let your child do that. Your children need to know that they can help and have helped. (Hint: use a lidded and insulated drink cup with a straw to prevent spillage and keep the drink warm or cold for your loved one. This will help not only your child to carry it without spilling but also be good for your loved one who is weakened and could drop or knock over the cup.)

In order to give your loved one a break for rest, take your children to a park or a movie. Take photos with your camera or cell phone while you are there so that the children can come back and tell about what they did and the fun they had, with pictures! Your loved one wants his or her family to keep living and loving, and sharing times of joy with them is one of the best things that you can do. Give the caregivers a break and let them have the fun of taking your children somewhere while you care for your loved one. Go to the grocery store for needed items, and let your children help find the items on the list. If you can make it like a scavenger hunt, they can have the fun of discovery.

2. If you are not the primary caregiver, try to go to see your loved one at least once without your children.
You may have to go alone, without your spouse, in order to accomplish this. I did this once, and I am so glad that I did. It was the last anniversary that my parents were able to share, and both my sister and I were able to be there. I only wish I had stayed a little longer. You need to try to find times when you can talk with your loved one. They may have some memories to share. That can be a very sweet time. Don’t wait too long to do this and then have unanswered questions that you wish you had asked. Share your memories of times together with them. Let them know how much you treaaure and love them!

3. Be sure to ask your loved one in a private moment if there is anything that you can do for them.
They may want to talk about their illness or about death and dying. While it is difficult for you and for them, they may feel that this is too hard to do with another loved one, and they may need someone to talk to about this. Let them talk, cry if you can’t help it, ask questions if you feel that it is called for, and pray with them.

* prepare for something special
Something else that you can do is to think ahead to special occasions that are approaching and ask if your loved one wants you to help them prepare for such events. For example, my parents’ 49th anniversary was coming up in September, so I asked my Dad during the summer if he wanted me to help prepare for it. He said yes. I asked him if he had any ideas of something he’d like to do. He really didn’t have any, so I shared with him about the eternity necklaces that were being made at that time, with 3 diamonds. The meaning of these necklaces was a love that has lasted, that is still alive, and that will always be. I told Dad about the local jeweler in the town where I lived who was also a custom jewelry designer and maker. Dad asked me to get his checkbook, and he wrote a check for this gift to my Mom. I was able to get the necklace made in a style that I knew my Mother would love and purchase a card on Dad’s behalf. When I drove the 3 and a half hours across Oklahoma by myself, to be with them on the week-end of their anniversary, I brought Dad’s last gift to Mom. He was able to give it to her in person (after he’d signed the card when Mom wasn’t looking) and tell her in person the significance of the gift (we have both pictures and video of this). Dad passed away 13 days later.

4. If you don’t live nearby, get creative with keeping in touch.

*  Call often, skype, send your childrens’ art and home-made cards, look for special cards that you can send.
*  Send photos by email or a small photo album of recent pix through the mail. Send a video.
*  Talk not just to your ailing loved one but also to caregivers. Look for ways to brighten their days.
*  Once, I sent a fruit basket through a florist when my Dad was in the hospital. I called the florist directly and talked to the person who was going to shop for and make the basket, so I was able to specify what fruits to include. You could also ask that a small paring knife, some pretty napkins, and some small disposable plates or bowls be included to make the gift more practical in a hospital environment and give them what they need to eat the fruit. Dad and Mom really enjoyed that fruit basket, and it was more meaningful than flowers at that time.
*  Something that I wish I had thought of was to give or send my Dad books on tape (CD). He loved to read, but his eyesight failed as his health did. He also could no longer see what was going on in a television program. There might have been some recorded books that he and Mom could have enjoyed together.

5.  If you have a loved one who enjoyed staying in touch by e-mail, searching the internet, or working on the computer, go together with other family members to purchase a computer that your loved one can use even if confined to a chair or a bed. A regular computer desk and desk chair may not work anymore, but a tablet (I-pad) or lap top computer on a hospital type table that can be swung over the bed or chair surface and adjusted for optimum height might work really well. Your loved one might not even need a table in order to use a tablet if hand or arm weakness is not a problem in holding on to it. A Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader might work well also, especially if it has the option of conversion to audio books. Do keep your loved ones tech capabilities, interests, and eyesight in mind in deciding whether to make such a purchase and what to purchase. For some people, access to this type of technology could really help them to feel that they are still connected to the world, able to view the news when they feel up to it, etc.

6. If your loved one is physically and mentally well enough to participate, join them in doing things they enjoy.
*  Do a puzzle or play a board game together.
*  Rent a video of their favorite movie.
*  Listen to favorite music or sing together.
*  Read a book or the Bible aloud to them.
*  Look through photo albums, watch family videos, or whatever your loved one wants to do.

7. Finally, as you are spending time, take the time to ask if there are any legal or businees matters that you can help to resolve for your loved one. In the case of my parents, Dad had almost everything in good shape as far as personal affairs, and Mom knew where everything was kept. This helps so much, but it is not always the case that someone is this prepared. Especially if an illness has come about suddenly, your loved one may need help with this. It will be a comfort to them to know this is taken care of, so don’t feel bad asking if there is such a need. If you can do this in the same conversation where you’ve aske about other types of needs, it could lead quite naturally to asking about this type of concern. There was one detail that my father had not taken care of that caused my Mom a lot of problems later on, and I wished that I had taken time to ask him about any loose ends. Topics such as insurance, a will, his wishes, any outstanding loans (they need to be in the name of both parties), and any properties (also need to be jointly owned) need to be addressed. Again, my Dad had done very well, but he failed to add my mother’s name to the property deed for some land he’d been given by his mother (once part of the family farm in South Carolina, split up into four parcels for he and his 3 brothers). The land was being used as a tree farm, and it was earning some money every time trees were harvested. It turned into a big hassle for my Mom to jump through the legal hoops that it took to get the property into her name, so I wished that I’d sat down with my Dad and helped him to think through a list of things like this that needed attention.

B.  PRACTICAL HELPS:  LOOK FOR THINGS THAT NEED TO BE DONE

What are some practical things that you and / or other family members or friends can do (or have done by a professional contractor ar handyman) that will be helpful to both your ailing loved one and their caregiver(s)?

It is good to think all of this through and come up with some possible ideas. Then, run these ideas by the caregiver(s) to see if they agree that what you are proposing will really be practical and helpful. The caregiver(s) may have additional ideas that have not occured to you. Finally, have a family meeting or conference call with those who can help to do what needs to be done and pay for any expenses. Share the needs and the ideas for meeting them, and make an action plan about how best to accomplish doing what you have agreed upon.

Here are some suggestions for re-arranging and modifying the home environment :

1. Comfortable seating is a must for someone who is not feeling well and for those who will be caring for him or her. If your loved ones have always resisted the look of a recliner but such a chair would now be very helpful, consider such a purchase and a furniture re-arrangement for perhaps the family gathering room to accommodate the large chair. Or, if there is no place to sit in the room where your loved one’s bed is, you may want to move another piece of furniture out in order to place a chair for a caregiver or visitor. For example, your loved one may only be wearing pajamas and may not need as much clothing storage, so their chest of drawers might be able to be moved into a closet or into another room.

2. A hospital bed can make life so much easier and more comfortable for your loved one and even be helpful to caregivers. Caregivers have the best perspective on when this becomes a need. A formal dining room can be converted to a room for this if there is nowhere else. Curtains or even a temporary wall (with a wide door opening) can be put in place for privacy. Your table can be stored in the garage, with legs removed and leaning against a wall, with some kind of a small carpet underneath to prevent damage. Chairs can be stacked in front of the table in your storage space. A hutch or buffet could stay if there is room, perhaps packing up some dishes temporarily and using the space for medicines, clothing, or whatever.

3. Grab bars can be a safety essential. If your loved one is like my Dad, he wanted to take care of his own needs as long as possible. We did install a grab bar beside the toilet and another beside the tub/shower. This did make it easier for my Dad to continue to take care of his needs for a while longer. However, we should have done it sooner. The grab bars were installed after Dad had already had a fall. We were able to get very sturdy grab bars at a home improvement store. They were white and didn’t look terrible. Make sure these are installed properly and anchored into a stud.

4. Consider accessability needs. If a ramp is needed but a permanent structure would not be a good option, check out the rollout aluminum ramps that support 1,000 lbs. and work well in so many applications. Here’s a link to the Roll a Ramp website: http://www.rollaramp.com/ . In addition, some doorways may need to be modified to accomodate a wheelchair or walker. This should be done by someone who knows how to re-frame a door opening and install a wider door. In most situations, no electrical outlets or switches would have to be moved; however, it’s wise to proceed with caution and use an electrician for this if the need arises.

5. A nice meal tray that suits the situation can be a great help. My Dad ate a lot of meals sitting in his chair with a lap tray Mom had found in a catalog and ordered.  This particular meal tray was similar to many lap desks that are sold these days, with a fabric “pillow” on the underside, full of styrofoam beads, allowing the tray to nestle onto a lap and sit evenly and snugly.  The tray she found was generously sized, had a raised rim around the top surface, and also had a recessed well for a drink cup.

6. Some sort of table to keep needed items within arms reach can be very handy and allow the patient to reach some items without waiting for help. (Medicines, reading materials, water, etc.) If you need a hospital type table, get one.

7. Fight for whatever equipment your loved one needs. Medicare did not want to approve a wheelchair or oxygen for my Dad at first, even though he was in congestive heart failure and needed both desperately. We got the items anyway but kept fighting until they were covered. Try to make sure your loved one’s Doctor prescribes equipment like this when needed to make the process easier.  A lift may become a necessity if your loved one becomes unable to assist in moving himself or herself.

8. Control lighting. If your loved one needs more light and there’s no room for a regular table lamp, get a pole lamp. If light bothers your loved one, find a way to cover windows where necessary.

9. Make it possible for your loved one to spend some time outdoors for as long as is possible, given their health and mobility needs. You may need to purchase a different type of outdoor seating for a deck or patio that will accomodate your loved one’s need for cushion and comfort if they have lost weight. (Note:  a gel or foam cushion for a wheelchair or for a wooden diniing chair can also be helpul for your loved one and add to their comfort level.)  Add an awning or umbrella if there’s too much bright sunlight. Place a bird feeder or a hummingbird feeder by a window where your loved one can see it if they would like this for a touch of the outdoors from inside. However, it will be necessary for someone ot maintain feeders once they are up.  If that would be too much, added to what you are already doing, don’t do it. Perhaps you can give your loved one little outdoor breaks by choosing to leave a little early for appointments and then intentionally pausing in your front yard or as you are on your way in from the parking lot to the medical building (if there is a nicely landscaped area). Just breathing some fresh air and seeing growing things and even birds or squirrels could be a welcome moment of enjoyment for your loved one.

10. Remove obstructions and dangers. Get rid of any furniture in your loved one’s path that has sharp corners (place it somewhere else). Remove throw rugs that could be a tripping hazard. If a space is too narrow between furniture pieces, change your furniture arrangement to make it easier for your loved one to navigate with a portable oxygen set-up or a walker. Cover the hearth next to your loved one’s chair with a quilt. Look around the home for danger spots if your loved one were to fall. Remove things that would cause injury if someone fell on or against them.

11. Give them music if desired.  If your loved one loves music, Place a CD player or Ipod where they can reach it and listen to their favorite music whenever they wish. Make sure they know how to use it. Listen to music with them, and sing along with it if your loved one wishes. I still remember hearing my sister-in-law singing with her Dad as she was caring for him (when he had moved into their home and his health was failing).

12. Look for a project that needs to be done!  Remember that you are trying to make life easier for primary caregivers as well as for your ailing loved one.  This can bring joy to the caregivers who are also in that environment and give them something else to focus on. It can also re-assure your loved one that those left behind will be well cared for. In addition, your family can use and enjoy whatever is done. This does not need to be something that will cause a lot of indoor mess and hassle. It could be something as simple as bright, new towels for a bathroom, fresh paint in the kitchen, or a peaceful photo or painting. Large projects to be considered might be one of the step in bathtubs with an opening door, which are installed by the manufacturer, or changing out a bathtub for a step-in or roll-in shower.

What chose to do was an outdoor project. Here’s how it took place. As Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were approaching in the months before my Dad passed away, I realized that there was nothing that my parents really needed as personal gifts. They had all their needs met, and Dad could no longer enjoy the hobbies that had provided our family with gift ideas through the years. I was racking by brain for an idea when I thought of their large deck. Behind their condo, Mom and Dad had both a patio and a huge deck. The deck needed some work, and they needed some new outdoor furniture and accessories. My siblings and I took this on as a project. We let Mom and Dad know about it, and Mom was especially excited. Travis & I drove to their home several times that Spring and Summer to work, and my Sister was able to fly down from Washington State to help as well. My brother and his family were living in France then, so we did a lot of communication by e-mail. We ordered many things online so that everyone could have a say in what was purchased. When we were able to be there to work on the project, Travis and I hammered in nails that were popped out, did minor repairs, and power washed the deck. We put together deck furniture that had arrived in huge boxes (we’d arranged for the boxes to be brought down the alley and placed directly on the deck so that Mom wouldn’t have to get help bringing them through the condo). We purchased pots, plants, and accessories locally and fixed them up. We hung lanterns on pretty brackets on the pergola. Mom had always loved taking care of plants, so she did not mind the watering and getting outside some. Dad was able to come outside more often in his last few months because the furniture was comfortable for him. And, when family came from out of town for Dad’s memorial service, the deck and the new table (plus the old one that Travis had repainted) were wonderful to have. There wasn’t enough seating indoors, and we were able to seat everyone nicely on the deck, which looked beautiful. Later on, when my Mom sold the condo, the improvements we’d made helped her find a buyer more quickly. The deck project was one thing that we did right.

13. If your loved one still has some mobility, look for ways to shift some things around and make it easier for them to function. If they have always gotten ready for the day at the far sink, ask if they would like to swap sinks to the one nearer the door.  Make that happen if needed. Place things that are most used in drawers at just the right height. Shift some hanging items or shelved items in the closet so that what is needed most is very accessible to your loved one.

14. Begin exploring ways to get help before you need it. If you think you will need a home health care nurse part-time, check into that. There are various programs to help with the cost, and it would be good to investigate all of that. My Dad did have a home health care nurse that came in for brief visits to handle some of the medical procedures that Mom was uncomfortable doing. They were going to start sending someone to assist with bathing, but that never happened. He also got some physical therapy at home to keep his muscles going so he could remain ambulatory as long as possible.

C.  MAKE PRE-ARRANGEMENTS SO YOU CAN BE THERE WHEN NEEDED

1. If your ability to be there for your loved ones when needed depends on getting away from your job or your spouse getting away, talk to supervisors or bosses before the need is urgent. Talk to your spouse about what times you will feel that your really need to be there. Talk about priorities for making this happen. Make any arrangement that you can to handle what must be done in your absence before you need to be gone.

2. Check on transportation options for all kinds of scenarios.

3. Make sure your children have what they need (someone to take them to sports or piano lessons, to help with homework, to be there for a special event). Have gifts purchased early for birthdays and such that are coming up in case you need to be gone. Talk to your children and help them to have some level of understanding about what is going on. They need to know and feel that they are part of the family in dealing with all of this.

4. Consider the needs of other family members as well. Try to be there for each other. Remember that others may grieve differently.

5. Talk to the funeral home and church (Pastor, person in charge of facilities) ahead of time. Make any arrangements that you can before they are needed.

6. Keep extended family and long time friends in the loop. Have a private blog for updates or an e-mail list of people to dash off a quick update. Check into Caring Bridge at http://www.caringbridge.org/ This is a web-based support system for you that you can customize to be seen only by those you wish to inform. It is designed to allow a family member to set up a page for an ailing loved one quickly and easily. They provide a sort of page template to use. Information such as prayer requests, health updates, needs for someone to stay with your loved one (while a primary caregiver has their own Dr. appointment, goes to church, has an outing with friends, goes to the grocery store, or whatever), a care-giving schedule or meals schedule, requests for immediate help if there is a need to have a prescription picked up or a family member picked up at the airport…..or whatever it is that your family needs in your own unique situation.

7. Include your ailing family member in everything (including decisions) as much as possible and for as long as possible (unless you plan a surprise).

D.  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

Try to have some joyful and fun times with your children, siblings, spouse, other family members and friends even in the midst of all that is happening. You are still alive! They are still alive! Each day is a day that the Lord has made! Rejoice in everything that brings joy! It is not a betrayal of the one who is ill! They would want you to enjoy what you can!

Take care of physical needs. Try to rest when you need to. Don’t skip check-ups or dental cleanings. If you can’t make a specific appointment time, re-schedule rather than canceling. Take your vitamins.

Take care of emotional needs. There needs to be someone you can talk to in order to share your deepest thoughts and cares.

Take care of spiritual needs. Try to keep going to church or at least to watch or listen to worship services. Stay in touch with your Ministerial Staff and Sunday School class. Continue your time with the Lord, and pray about all of your needs and concerns. Read or listen to books that help you. There are lots of books at your local Christian bookstore or online for people who are dealing with illness or loss.

Tell people when you need something. Don’t become a patient yourself because you have neglected your own well-being. If you have a private blog that only people who really care about your loved one can see, post a request for help if you need someone to run to the grocery store or do a few loads of laundry or bring in a meal. People who love you will see this and will respond when they can.

E.  HOLD ON TO HOPE!

As long as there is life, there is hope! Hope with and for your loved one! Talk of tomorrow! Make plans! Don’t give up! Sometimes people respond well to treatments. Sometimes remission comes. Sometimes an acute health crisis can be resolved and the patient can get better. Miraculous healings do happen. For your loved one who knows the Lord, healing will come! Whether it is healing of the body in the earthly life or what some people call “the ultimate healing” of eternal life with no more sickness or pain, healing will come!

My Dad held on to hope. Just a month before he died, he had decided to give his car to Travis and I. It had been sitting idle in Mom and Dad’s garage for months. When they were talking about the decision, Dad asked Mom, “But what if I get better?” and Mom replied, “Then we’ll get you a new car!” (yea, Mom!) As sick as he was, Dad had not abandoned hope of getting better. He held on to hope! The hope that he had allowed him to live as long as he did and to avoid self-pity or depression. Hold on to hope!

Years ago, Travis and I went to a Christian concert, and one of the artists was talking about a friend who had what the Doctors called “terminal cancer.” This man had a joyful attitude because he believed that the two possible scenarios for his future were to either (a) be miraculously healed or (b) be with the Lord. He held onto the Lord and held on to hope!

Finally, TRUST GOD TO HAVE THE BEST INTERESTS OF YOU AND YOUR LOVED ONES WRITTEN ON HIS HEART!

Here are some scripture verses that offer comfort and hope.

  • The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18
  • Jesus said, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” – John 16:22
  • I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. – Jeremiah 31:13
  • …weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5
  • He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
  • “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you,” says the Lord. – Isaiah 66:13
  • I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” – Genesis 28:15
  • I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16
  • But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. – Psalm 10:14
  • And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10
  • The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:11
  • For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. – Psalm 72:12
  • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14
  • The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The LORD protects the simple-hearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. – Psalm 116:5-6
  • For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. – Isaiah 49:13
  • Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
  • In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. – Psalm 31:22
  • In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. – Psalm 18:6, 16
  • Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
  • The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. – Psalm 18:2
  • For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. – Psalm 22:24
  • Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief…But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” – Psalm 31:9, 14
  • A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; – Psalm 34:19
  • In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed. – Psalm 22:4-5
  • For your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:8
  • You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, – Psalm 10:17
  • For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver…we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance. – Psalm 66:10, 12
  • The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. – Psalm 145:17-19
  • Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. – Isaiah 54:10
  • My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. – Psalm 62:1
  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27
  • Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. – I Peter 5:7
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
  • He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. – Isaiah 40:11
  • You understand, O LORD; remember me and care for me. – Jeremiah 15:15

  • Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him. – Psalm 126:5-6
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
  • Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. – Psalm 55:22
  • Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. – Romans 5:1-2
  • My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. – Psalm 119:50
  • Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. – Isaiah 58:9
  • He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. – Psalm 18:19
  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
  • Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings. – Psalm 17:8

We do not want you to be uninformed about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. – I Thessalonians 4:13-18

  • Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10
  • The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17
  • Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. – Psalm 51:12
  • Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. – Psalm 73:23-24
  • Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. – Lamentations 3:21-23
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
  • Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me. – Psalm 57:1-2
  • I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. – Psalm 91:2
  • I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4
  • But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. – Psalm 59:16
  • He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. – Psalm 91:4
  • The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. – Nahum 1:7
  • I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. – Psalm 27:13-14
  • The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. – Proverbs 18:10
  • The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. – Psalm 23:1-4
  • I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. – Psalm 34:4-5
  • May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight. – Psalm 119:76-77
  • I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:2-4
  • O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. – Psalm 63:1-3
  • And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.- Philippians 4:19
  • Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. – Psalm 69:16-17
  • …because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” – Hebrews 13:5-6
  • But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. – Psalm 73:28

Scripture verses copied and edited from http;//www.joeagoglia.com/resources/scriptures.asp

© Copyright 2003-2012 Justin Agoglia. All Rights Reserved.

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This post was written by Cynthia A. Boyd.
For those who love through valleys of sorrow…love and prayers to you.

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading the contents of this page. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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You Have a Lot to Give

His mercies are new every morning!

What does it take to make a real and lasting difference in your family and in this world? I believe that there are three key elements to living a life for Christ that has eternal impact.

1. A love for your Lord and Savior and a desire to bring Him glory.

2. A deep compassion for your fellow man.

3. A willingness to do whatever it takes to fulfill the callings that you discover as the Lord leads you in using the abilities and resources that He has given to you.

I believe that these three factors are most important for several reasons. First, in order for what we do and say as we live to have a lasting (eternal) impact, there must be a spiritual element involved. In other words, the task must be something which we believe to be our calling at that moment; and, we must have a strong desire to glorify the Lord in doing what He has called us to do. Whether our calling is teaching a Sunday School class, building or repairing structures on a mission trip, responding with kindness to people who come across your path, being the most effective worker you can be at your job, preparing a meal, helping someone directly, or singing in the choir, all that we do is important when we do it as to the Lord and not unto men. It we are not relating, serving, and working to glorify the Lord, then our lesser motivation will limit the effectiveness of our endeavors. Living to bring glory to God is true, lifestyle worship, and it is our purpose for being. (Romans 12:1 & 2)

Secondly, another key element of our motivation should be our love and concern for others, which flows out of our relationship with the Lord. People can tell when we really care about them. Any deeds or words that are accompanied by compassion will be used by the Lord to make an impact far greater than physical help or an emotional lift alone could make apart from that God-given compassion. What we are able to share becomes a far greater message that speaks to the hearts of people. The message given by acts or words of compassion accompanied by the Love of God is that we care and love people because God cares and loves them. This lets people know that God has initiated a response to their need because He loves them and has sent an instrument of caring to them in order to demonstrate His love.

Finally, our most excellent effort is called for in whatever we are doing. When we live our lives to glorify the Lord, it becomes our desire to really make our lives count for His Kingdom. However, we must remember that our job is to do our best with God’s help. He will take our efforts, indwell them with His own Spirit at work in the world, amd multiply what we are able to do or say in ways we may not expect or ever know about while on the earth. We are not responsible for the results. We are responsible for our love for God, our response to Jesus (repentence leading to salvation), our attitude and our growth, and giving our best. He will take all that each of us have to give and use it to accomplish His purpose in our lives and the lives of others.

So, don’t worry about which gifts you have or wish you had or about what the results of your efforts will be. Those things are all in God’s hands, Whatever your circumstances, you have a LOT to give! Your heart, your life, your compassion, your willingness, your obedience, your encouragement, your prayers, your hopes, and your efforts to allow God to work in and through your life are the best and most important ways that you have a lot to give to make a difference in this world. Everyone can give these things! From a prison cell, a hospital bed, a home full of pre-schoolers, a teacher’s desk, a business, a career position, and from every life circumstance, these gifts can flow! You have a lot to give! Blessings and encouragement to you as you do just that!

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This page was written by Cynthia A. Boyd. It was originally published as a post on our primary blog, which addresses the subjects of life, ministry, worship, music, and discipleship. You’ll find many other posts on our original blog which are not on this blog at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Year Round Resolution ABC’s

A new year is full of possibilities…how will we use the time we have been given?

Teaching topic:  Living a life that honors God and brings glory to Him.

At any time of year, it’s good to think about ways to be more effective in living a life of intentional positive impact that is both practical and spiritual. As you strive to be an example for your children and to bring honor and glory to God (in the new year or in the current year) through all that you do and say every day, renew your resolve to be:

Aware of your blessings and the joy of the moment,

Bold in your efforts to do good deeds,

Caring to others, realizing that we everyone needs kindness and understanding..

Diligent in doing what is really important,

Encouraging to those around you,

Faithful in your commitments.

Gentle with the hearts of children,  (Not just your own children, but other children as well)

Helpful whenever possible,

Immediate in your prayers when you know of a need.

Joyful !

Knowledgable when it comes to the hopes of your loved ones,

Loving to those who are beloved.

Making the most of each day,

Near to the heart of God.

Original… and true to yourself,

Patient,

Quick to forgive,

Reasonable,

Surrendered to God’s purpose and plan for your life,

Truthful,

Understanding.

Vulnerable…opening your heart to the love of God and those closest to you,

Watchful, protecting what is good in your own life and the lives of others,

eXciting…think of ways to bring fun to everyday experiences and make life eXtraordinary!

Youthful in your thinking…do something spontaneous!

Zealous for God, for what it good, and for fulfilling your purpose in serving others, sharing the hope found in Jesus Christ, and glorifying God.

<o>+<o>+<o> Have a blessed year! <o>+<o>+<o>

Note:  Scroll on down for “Something to Do this Year” and for “Only One Life”

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Post written by Cynthia A. Boyd

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Here’s a list to remind you of some other good things to do in this year or any year. This list came from the newsletter of a Rural Electric Cooperative which provided the power for our family home several years ago. There was no author given. I have edited the list, but I did not write it.

“Something to Do this Year”

Mend a quarrel.
Seek out an old friend.
Dismiss a suspicion.
Give a soft answer.
Write a note or letter.
Encourage someone who is young.
Share some treasures.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep your promises.
Find the time…
Forget a grudge.
Think of someone else.
Forgive someone.
Listen.
Apologize if you are wrong.
Try to understand.
Don’t allow yourself to envy.
Examine your demands on others.
Laugh!
Be kind and gentle.
Deserve confidence.
Express. your gratitude.
Enjoy the little things in life.
Go to church.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Make sure your face is wearing a smile.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Open your heart to others by being real and vulnerable.
Speak your love.
Appreciate others and let them know it.
Love the people in your life and don’t forget to show it!

– Adapted from a quote by H. Hunter, published in an Oklahoma REC Newsletter in 1991, edited by C. Boyd, 2012

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ONLY ONE LIFE

Redeem the time!

Redeem the time!

“Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
Living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of "Only One Life"

Missionary Charles Thomas Studd, author of “Only One Life”

— extra stanza —

“Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.”

– poem written by Charles Thomas (C.T) Studd

Missionary to China, India, and Africa  (1860 – 1931)

Note: To read a brief missionary biography page for this author, use this link:
http://www.wholesomewords.org/missions/biostudd.html

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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Disappointment…and Grace

All of us experience disappointments in life. These can be relatively minor circumstances, disappointments that turn out to be merely a misunderstanding, devastating choices that lead to major life upheavals, or even heart-breaking betrayals of trust. I believe that every disappointment has the potential to change us in some way. If we can learn to respond with grace to the disappointments that come our way, they can lead to growth and perhaps to eventual reconciliation where there is a need for that. Many times, situations have consequences that reach far into the future, but that just makes it even more important to respond in a way that prevents bitterness from taking root and leaves an open door for God’s grace to bring good out of the pain of disappointment.

There are several types of disappointment that we need to consider. First, there is what I’ll call a Circumstantial Disappointment. Secondly, there are Relational Disappointments. Third, we will deal with Regretful Disappointments. Finally, we can sometimes feel disappointment with God when the answers to prayer are long in coming or seem not to be coming at all. We’ll call that Spiritual Disappointment. There are some general truths for dealing with all kinds of disappointment and some specific considerations for different types of disappointment.

Some people feel that the best way to avoid disappointment is by choosing not to expect too much. I remember not long ago hearing some dialogue in which an individual took issue with the phrase, “Don’t get your hopes up.” I don’t recall the source of the dialogue in question, but it may have been in a movie. The response to being told, “Don’t get your hopes up!” went something like this: “Why not? Why wouldn’t I want my hopes to be up? That’s a very good place for hopes to be. Why would I want to hope for less?” There’s a lot of truth in that. While our expectations in life should be a lot broader than hopes for more of everything good in our own lives (and should include hopefulness for our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, our community, our state, our country, and even the world as a whole, hoping for much more than just material blessings and ‘happiness’), it’s certainly much better to be hopeful than hopeless. Yes, we will sometimes be disappointed; but it’s still worthwhile to live hopefully. Hopes can bond the hearts of people, give individuals something to look forward to, give us a reason to keep working and trying and overcoming, and speak to the world around us with a message that the life of Christ within brings us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow…blessings all mine with ten thousand beside.” (lyrics from the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness.”)

The first key to dealing with disappointment is to hold on to hope. Our hopefulness is an indication of trust in God. When we know in the very depths of our souls that God is good and has our best interests on His heart, we can trust that whatever circumstance comes our way, God will use it to bring about good in our lives and in His Kingdom. So, the first and most important key to dealing with disappointment is a choice. We must choose to live hopefully. We must choose to reject the negative thoughts that enter our mind when we have been disappointed. Thoughts like “No one really cares about me” and “nothing ever works out in my life” are counter productive and depressing. To counter these kinds of thoughts, you may have to sit down and make some lists. Make a list of everyone who has been kind to you and demonstrated caring. Make a list of the blessings in your life. Make a list of the times when things have worked out well for you, and include times when something that seemed negative at first eventually turned into a positive. Seeing these truths written in black and white can do a lot to help you choose hope.

Precious promises for you!

Secondly, it is essential for us as Christians to look to scripture for help when we are dealing with disappointment. Study the ways that Biblical characters such as Joseph dealt with disappointment and even betrayal. Read the Psalms. Here, you will find a desperate longing for God, and sometimes the broken-hearted pleas for God’s deliverance from trials. No matter what the circumstance, the writers of the Psalms turned to God as their source of help and hope. Another helpful thing to do is to fill your mind with the promises of God. If you don’t have a little book of God’s promises from scripture, buy one and keep it on your nightstand.

Or, go to websites such as these:

God’s promises arranged by topic: http://www.smilegodlovesyou.org/promises.html
Daily scripture promise blog: http://www.365promises.com/
God’s promises in every book of the Bible: http://bible.org/article/selected-promises-god-each-book-bible
John Piper’s sermon on the promises of God: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/all-the-promises-of-god-are-yes-in-christ

New International Version (©1984) “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through Him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
II Corinthians 1:20

Romans, Chapter 5, NIV
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, wea have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And web rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but wec also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

(Scripture references above are copied from the Online Parallel Bible) http://bible.cc/

SPECIFIC TYPES OF DISAPPOINTMENT

Circumstantial disappointment

All of us face times in life when circumstances change in a way that we did not expect or that seems less desirable than what we had hoped. These kind of circumstantial disappointments may involve something that didn’t happen as you had hoped. Or, they may involve something that happened which seems contrary to everything you had hoped. Sometimes these disappointments lead to eventually letting go of one dream for your life and grabbing hold of God’s promises and His new dream for you. Circumstances will happen to disappoint us all, and each time we must choose to look at the positives in the situation. The reactions we have to the disappointment of our hopes can range from mild irritation (having to re-arrange your schedule because a flight was cancelled, for example) to feeling absolutely devastated (the sale of your home fell through, or you were laid off, or you didn’t get admitted to the University of your choice). No matter how strong our reaction may be, each disappointment results in the following choices:

1. Choosing to continue to dwell on what has been lost even though nothing can be done about it OR eventually choosing to let it go and move on.

2. Choosing to give up on a hope or dream OR seeking God’s direction about whether to allow Him to give you a new dream or to persevere in seeking this hope but perhaps through another avenue.

3. Choosing to become bitter about what has been denied OR allowing God to use disappointment to refine our character.

4. Choosing to become stuck in the past and our unfulfilled hope OR moving forward with trust and faith in God, knowing that He will work all things (even this disappointment) for our good.

5. Feeling hopeless OR allowing God to restore our hope as time passes and the mental and spiritual adjustment is made not only to the reality that the disappointment has occurred, but to the possiblities of the future!

There is a grieving process with any disappointment, and it is necessary. After all, it takes time to re-adjust your thinking to a new reality. However, we must always be seeking God as the Source of our comfort, our transformation to the likeness of Christ, and ultimately, our hope. God wants us to be honest with Him in prayer. He knows we are devastated and disappointed, but He wants us to talk to Him about it. His Spirit can only minister peace in a situation that has been turned over to Him. A new dream can only be given when we choose to allow Him to turn our disappointment into possibilities that we’d never imagined. Give yourself the grace of seeing each day as a new beginning, full of possibilities and promise as you release the disappointments of the past and surrender each moment to the Lord. The reality of your disappointment can become a stepping stone to newness in your life and even to a reality more joyful or profound than anything you could have dreamed. Hold on to your relationship with God through the grieving and adjustment period, and hold on to hope!

Relational Disappointment

Relational disappointment can be the most devastating type of disappointment. Someone has let us down or even intentionally hurt us…often in a BIG way. Broken hearts result from relational disappointment. Here, we are not only dealing with our feelings about what has happened. We are also dealing with the ongoing relationship. When we have been badly hurt, anger is often our response. However, the expression of anger can cause even more relational difficulty. It’s good to keep in mind some considerations of the other person and the relationship you have to them. As you work through the process of dealing with the disappointment and hurt that you feel, you can choose to show grace by valuing the person and the relationship more than your right to be angry and hurt. Although the grieving and adjustment process for relational disappointment is the same as for any other type, the feelings and the potential relational consequences involved require careful consideration of a few additional factors.

First, remember that you, too, have at times disappointed someone. None of us can perfectly meet the needs of another person. We will all make mistakes, forget something important, or fail to handle a situation appropriately from time to time. We all will have times when we need to apologize for disappointing someone else (as well as times when we need to forgive someone for disappointing us).

Secondly, we need to realize that what seems a big failure or disappointment may have been out of someone’s control or may have resulted from a miscommunication of some type. Here, I will give an example of something that occurred at one of the churches where Travis had served. There was a person who was a part-time employee in Music Ministry at the church, and this individual had been serving for a number of years. Travis was new at the church and was still learning how things were done. Procedures and policies very widely from church to church, and that fact would be brought home in this situation. At the church Travis had left prior to coming to this new church, the Personnel Committee had always taken care of farewells and thank yous to those who were leaving a paid position in the church. However, when this person was no longer employed by the church, nothing was done by that committee. By the time that Travis realized that things were handled differently at the new church, the former employee was already very upset and feeling unappreciated. Though he tried to correct the mistake he’d made by assuming procedures were similar, the attempts were rejected by the former employee. Travis would have liked to have had the opportunity to show appreciation properly; but because of a misunderstanding and the resulting disappointment, that never happened as it should have.

Many times, relational disappointments do result from some sort of misunderstanding. When there seems to have been a mess up or a large oversight that affects you, try not to automatically assume the worst and get all upset without knowing the facts. There may be reasons why things happened as they did of which you are unaware. Sometimes, knowing what happened can help and can even save a relationship. Therefore, we all need to give each other the grace of refusing to jump to conclusions. If you can talk to the person or persons who were involved in whatever led to your disappointment and tell them, “I really felt… (disappointed, betrayed, unappreciated…fill in the blank) because….” (Keep it short and mention only one or two main factors, without detail. Hopefully, this can come across without condemnation or anger.) Then, ask for clarification, “I didn’t want to assume anything without giving you the opportunity to explain, so can you tell me what happened?” Give the person some time to think and consider a response. Just sit and wait without saying anything further. It could be that there are real reasons for the way things happened that you never knew about. The problem could even have resulted from something that you did or said that the other person did not know how to handle. The truth could immediately make you feel better. If so, you may have prevented permanent damage to a relationship by seeking understanding. Or, the truthful answer could hurt at first. It may be that the truth is a mirror, reflecting an area in your own life where some change needs to take place or just an outright failure or oversight by the other party. Either way, these kinds of hurtful truths can be stepping stones to growth and to better understanding eventually if we keep the door of relationship open and work to have better understanding and resolve problems. Regardless of the steps that need to be taken, forgiveness is always appropriate. Even if something happened that was totally wrong, forgiveness will ultimately set you free from bitterness and from living in the past. Ask God to give you an open heart to any changes that you need to make and grace for the other person, just as you have been shown grace and mercy.

When you think that you have someone figured out and that you are disappointed in who they are, remember that there may be many things that you do not know about this person or about their life. Some of your asumptions may be totally wrong. Give others the grace of forgiveness and a second chance. You may be making yourself totally miserable by harboring negative feelings that are not even based upon fact. Pray for this person, and allow God to work in them and in you. You may be surprised at what He will do!

If a relationship proves to be totally unhealthy, seek counsel about what to do. No one has to stay in an abusive situation. You cannot change another person. Change can only come when the other person desires to change, and a lot of changes require God’s help.

Regretful disappointment

Sometimes, our lives can become filled with regret if we dwell on past mistakes or on what we wish we had done in a situation. These things are truly beyond our control. They are in the past. What matters is how we live NOW and what we do to make things better NOW. Give yourself the grace of letting go. Learn from past mistakes, fix what you can, and then remember Paul’s testimony and advice:

“It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already become perfect. But I keep pursuing it, hoping somehow to embrace it just as I have been embraced by the Messiah Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have embraced it yet. But this one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I keep pursuing the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly call in the Messiah Jesus.” – Phillippians 3;12 – 14 (International Standard Version)

The Serenity Prayer can also be helpful.

Spiritual disappointment

Spiritual disappointment can be extremely difficult. As Christians, we know that God is good and that He is able to do anything and to meet our needs. We feel that we should be content to trust His wisdom about the when and the how. We often don’t feel that we can even talk to other Christians about our disappointment. This kind of scenario can lead to feeling totally alone, as though one is abandoned by God but can’t talk about it because to do so would only lead to rejection from other believers who may want to comfort you but who actually fear the pain and loss you have experienced and want you to repeat phrases like “God is so good!’ or “His timing is perfect” for your good and for their comfort. The Book of Job is about just such a struggle. It’s a battle for Job between what he knows he should feel and what other believers are telling him to feel versus how he actually does feel. At the beginning of the time of trial for Job, God expresses confidence in the faith of Job. And yet, even for a mature believer, there is a process of sorting through thoughts, grieving loss, and finding that your faith still holds true. Job wants to know why. He knows that he has done nothing wrong to provoke God’s judgement in the form of the calamity that has come upon his household, and yet He acknowledges that God is sovereign over all. God Himself speaks with Job, and the truths that come out of this conversation are that God does not have to reveal His reasons to us and yet, He wants us to come to Him with our questions. There is no way that we could fully understand the interactions of every human heart and every circumstance as God does. We don’t have the infinite understanding to fathom God’s reasoning, but God gives us the mercy and grace to allow us to question Him, to ask why, and to express our pain, our deep grief, our disappointment, and even our anger. After we have asked out questions and cried out our pain, peace comes only when we finally choose to trust. It is a process, and that process is part of the healing and growth. So, the ultimate message about spiritual disappointment is that it will come to everyone, that we must take it to Him, and that He will teach and comfort us through the pain.

Turning to God in our disappointment and being honest with Him in prayer is the third key for dealing with disappointment. In earlier paragraphs, I had stated that the other two keys are choosing to live hopefully, based upon your knowledge of God’s goodness and your desire to have a positive outlook, and then turning to scripture for help in coping with disappointment. So, my friends, choose hope! Seek answers in God’s word, and turn to Him with all of your questions and hurts as you work through the process of moving forward in your life after you have been disappointed. These three keys to coming through a disappointment and moving forward without bitterness are not a ‘quick fix’. There is no easy answer and no quick solution. Allow yourself the grace of processing all that has happened and thinking through what this means for the future. God wants to bring possibility and promise out of this situation for you. He wants to heal your heart and give you new hope. He wants to communicate His love for you and renew your confidence in His goodness. Blessings to you in the journey!

* A SONG FOR YOU * Here’s a link to a song that may be helpful to you: http://soundcloud.com/travis-l-boyd/god-is-faithful-satb-choral

* HERE’S A BONUS *
Check out this excellent teaching about disappointment by TV host, author, and speaker Michelle McKinney Hammond on the 700 Club’s “Voices of Hope” series (segment #2) about facing life issues.  Here’s the link to the series.  (You will have to select and click on the Segment #2 link to see the video with the teaching about disappointment.): http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/voiceofhope/

Interestingly, in the 700 club interview that allows her to explain her teaching on disappointment, Ms. Hammond also speaks of the need for demonstrating grace when facing disappointment, saying, “Don’t expect divinity from humanity.  Have grace for people, and place your expectations on God.”  Additionally, she also speaks of trusting God through the disappointment (as in our blog article), but she does state some of her teaching in some unique ways that will be helpful to anyone who is seeking additional insights to learn the lessons of disappointment while holding on to faith, preserving relationships, and dealing with pain.  Listen near the end of the interview for your assignment, when Ms. Hammond speaks of God’s plan in the disappointment and our corresponding job as the steward of the experience.

Here is a link to information about her book called How to Get Past Disappointment;
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Note: I have not read the book, but I am recommending it based upon hearing the teaching in the above link, which is a portion of what is contained in the book. – C. A. Boyd)
Book info: http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Past-Disappointment-Finding/dp/0736937862

<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>This post was written by C. A. Boyd
<><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>><><><>Do you know Jesus?The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation.Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus.

http://www.boydbrainmusic.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus

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Lifting Up His Name

Psalm 107:8

Teaching TopicBringing honor to the name of our Lord through the way we live 

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to His righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

What does is really mean to praise the name of the Lord? In order to praise Him in Spirit and in truth, we must have some knowledge about Who He is. In other words, we must know the truth about God to some extent in order to be able to offer genuine praise that flows from a heart of gratittude. In the scripture verse above, the Psalmist acknowledges the righteousness of God, His Lordship, and the fact that He is the Most High God, Lord over all. The thankful heart of the Psalmist results from knowing that God is good. He is righteous. He is the Most High. As a result of this knowledge and relationship, the Psalmist feels that he has an obligation to respond appropriately to God’s goodness and supremacy. The Psalmist gives thanks to the Lord and sings praise to His Name based upon revealed truth and what that truth means to him.

Similarly, a child reaches a point when he has grown up enough to recognize the sacrifices his parents are making and have made on him behalf, resulting in his desire to thank his parents and to be good to them in turn. We are part of our biological or adopted family, the children of our earthly parents. We carry their name and their hopes and dreams, as well as their investment into our lives, for the remainder of our years. With maturity comes the acknowledgement that everything about the way the we live impacts all of those around us. We praise our parents and others who have had an impact on our lives not just for what they have done on our behalf but for who they are and the fact that they truly love us and have our best interests at heart. Our lives bear the fruit and the image of their sacrifice.

In thinking about our lives in relationship to God, the fact that He desires relationship with us is amazing! The fact that He is good and acts on our behalf is fantastic! The fact that He would give Himself for us is miraculously magnificent! What should be our response ot such an awesome, loving, and merciful God? Consider the worship quote below.

Worship quote:

“Worship is discovering and declaring the magnificence of God, not just by our image-bearing and not just in sacramental acts, but the way we breathe every breath, take in every sight, hear every sound, and move as image-bearers through every day.”

( The quote above is from http://marshill.com/2011/04/17/what-worship-is )

The term “image bearers” in the worship quote above is a reminder to me of the true meaning of one of the Ten Commandments. When preparing to teach a Sunday School lesson several years ago, I learned that the definition of the word that has been translated as “take” in the commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” is “to bear or to carry.” This expanded my understanding of what God was telling us to do and not to do in a way that is more profound than the very true teaching that we must have reverence for God’s name and only use His name in a way that is honorable. In addition, we are the carriers of His name. We take, or bear, or carry, the name of God with us wherever we are as Christians. So, the commandment is telling us to be very aware of our witness and testimony, making sure that we do not bring shame or reproach to the name of God through our actions, words, or attitudes. To do so would be to carry His name in vain because of the fact that all of our efforts for the Kingdom (and God’s infinite investment of love and mercy in our lives) would not bear fruit as it should in the lives of others. ff we have compromised our testimony to such a great extent that our efforts are in vain, this is a very serious situation; but I believe that it does not have to be a permanent one. God’s forgiveness and mercy are always there for us. Every day is a new beginning. Today, with God’s help, may we carrry His name and the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in such a way that we bring Him glory. That is worship, dear friends.

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– This post was written by C. Boyd

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The worship scriptures used in this post can be found on our Worship Scripture Page called “Lift Your Voice” at http://www.worshipsounds.wordpress.com/lift-your-voice/

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The worship quote used in this posts can be found in our post called “Worship: Definitions and Quotations” at this link: WORSHIP: Definitions and Quotations

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Do you know someone who is looking for answers?

Thank you for spending your valuable time reading this devotional post. We hope that it has been helpful to you. If you or someone that you know is looking for answers about life, we hope that you will visit our page called “Do You Know Jesus?”. The links provided on this page will help to answer life’s deepest questions. Here is the link to “Do You Know Jesus?”: http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

Please feel free to share this URL with anyone who is looking for answers about life and eternity.

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You Are Greatly Loved!

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts throught the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5:1 – 5

Teaching topic:  The Awesome and Infinite Love of God

There are so many ways that the immense and immeasurable love of God is manifested to us, His deeply loved ones. He has written His love for us into His creation, and He has chosen again and again to show us mercy and grace because of His powerful, perfect, and almighty love.

Here are some ABC reminders of the many ways that God has demonstrated His love to us.

{ A } God’s love accepts us just as we are. When we are ready to see our own sinfulness and come to Him for forgiveness and salvation, God is always ready to receive us. We don’t have to clean ourselves up first or get ourselves right. He takes care of that after we have come to Him. The invitation to come to Him for salvation and forgiveness has no other conditions. It is the beginning point of our walk with the Lord and our journey towards becoming like Christ.

{ B } God’s love blesses our lives in countless ways. Every good gift is from Him. (James 1:17)

{ C } God’s love covers our sin with His mercy through the blood of Jesus. “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed in the one to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.” Psalm 32:1 & 2
(Note: the sin is covered by God only as we confess it and ask for His forgiveness, as in verse 1a)

{ D } God’s love delights in fellowship with us. He is never unavailable. He is God with Us, Emmanuel.

( E ) God’s love is everlasting. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. God’s love for us will never change or grow cold.

( F ) God’s love is forgiving. He is rich in mercy. As the hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” expresses, He is “ever giving and forgiving.”

( G ) God’s love is generous. Because He loves, He gave the most precious gift ever given…His only Son.

“We love, because He first loved us.” I John 3:19

( H ) God’s love is holy. There is no impure thought or motivation within the heart of God. His love is the most pure and holy of all loves.

( I ) God’s love is immortal. The Bible says that God is love. And, since God will never die, His love (that is the basic character of who God is and the fundamental motivation for all that He does) will never die. Our mortal loved ones may leave us for a time on Earth, but God’s love has always been, constantly is, and will always be. It is who He is.

( J ) God’s love is a jealous love. He wants to be first in our hearts. To some, that may sound out of character for our merciful and loving God; but He is the one who made us and knows us best. He knows that our lives will be complete, abundant, full of joy, and our full potential will be realized only as we love Him first.

( K ) God’s love is kind. He has our best interests at heart. As the lyrics from the chorus to the song, “Trust His Heart” (recorded by both Babbie Mason and Cynthia Clawson) tell us so beautifully: “God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So, when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”

( L ) God’s love is long-suffering (patient even when it is painful to be so). He allows the world to continue even though our sorrows bring him grief and our sin breaks his heart. His desire is to allow us more time to come to faith in Him, even in this fallen world. He sees beyond the present pain to the joy and victory that is to come and continues to show mercy.

( M ) God’s love is merciful. Perhaps a better spelling for the word would be mercyfull! Because God’s love for us is infinite in its fullness and in its capacity to forgive, God delights in showing us mercy. His mercies are new every morning!

( N ) God’s love is near. He is near to all who call upon His name. We don’t to wait for someday to know the love of the Lord. He is here. He is near.

( O ) God’s love is the origin of all true love. We love because He first loved us and created us with the capacity to give and receive love.

( P ) God’s love is powerful! His love has the power to transform lives, heal hearts, and purify souls.

( Q ) God’s love has both…quality and quantity! The quality of his love has a purity that goes beyond anything we experience on earth. And, as for quantitiy, there is always, abundantly, more of God’s love…enough to fill our hearts for eternity!

( R ) God’s love is redemptive. He will redeem every experience, every pain, every rejection, every loss, and every heart that says “Yes!” to His “Come Just as You Are” invitation.

“For God so loved…”

( S ) God’s love is saving love. In the words of Dottie Rambo, “He looked beyond my fault, and saw my need.” Because of His great love for us, God met our need for holiness, for relationship with Him, for abundant life, for purpose, for salvation. He sent Jesus as our Savior and allowed the ultimate sacrifice of Christ to become a substitutionary payment for the wages of our sin.

( T ) God’s love is true. We may wonder about the constancy of others, but God’s love is unaltered by time or circumstances. There is nothing that can separate us from the true love of God.

( U ) God’s love is understanding. There are those in our lives who may love us but not completely understand us. God, on the other hand, understands us better than we understand ourselves; and the best part is that He loves us anyway!

( V ) God’s love is victorious! The Latin phrase, “Amor vincit omni,” means “Love conquers all.” Our earthly loves are sometimes lasting in spite of obstacles, but we are inevitably separated by the enemy of death. God’s love has conquered sin, hell, and death! His love is victorious over all and will ultimately allow us to share in this victory.

( W ) God’s love is welcoming. We are the prodigals, captivated by our own desires, undertaking risky and ill-advised paths through life to get to the destination we think we want, using other people to get our way, living as if there is no tomorrow, breaking the Father’s heart with our sin and self-destructive ways. He is the ever-loving Father, waiting and praying for our return, continually watching for a sign that we are on our way home, ready to run to us and embrace us in all of our filth when He sees that we are ready to return, restoring our lives and our status as His own children, ready to celebrate and to give us every good gift!

( X ) God’s love is eXtravagant. He always goes far beyond in everything he does for us. He could have made us an earthly home that would have sustained us without all of the beauty and majesty that he has put into His creation. The colors, the shapes, the textures, the variety of species…in every facet of life…birds, trees, fish, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, insects, flowers, grasses, leafy plants, crustaceans, mammals, food-bearing plants, shrubs, vines, and even microscopic creatures…it’s amazing! Every idea that we think we have came from Him first. Drinking straws? Butterflies have a built in tube for drinking nectar. The wheel? Have you ever seen a tumbleweed in the wind? The internal combustion engine? Our sun and every other star. Machines and factories? Our bodies are a machine. They are designed so that we can do work and accomplish tasks. A robotic arm has joints that allow it to bend and move in ways that we take for granted. Airplanes? Obvious. Electicity? What about lightning and the electical impulses in brains and our nervous system. Computers? Our human brains are amazingly capable in storing information and in reasoning that goes far beyond what any machine can do. What about identification technologies that quickly calculate all the relationships between the swirls of a fingerprint, the structure of a face, or the identifying points in an eye? We are that individual, each one the Master Artist’s masterpiece. None of these individual characteristics unique to every person could have come from evolution or natural selection. Did our ancestors select each other for mating based upon such miniscule identifiers? Such a thought is preposterous. No, each of us is formed by God in the womb as a totally unique and individual creation. Do we carry some genectic traits? Of course. God planned it that way. As the founder of the family, he wants us to be connected to those who are related closely to us. And yet, there is nothing in genetics that could explain the artist’s signature that is found in our fingerprints. What about salvation? He didn’t just send us a do-it-yourself guide. He sent Himself, gave Himself, and sacrificed Himself in the person of God the Son, Jesus Christ. Every moment His love and mercy allows us to live is a gift far beyond what His holiness and justice would require, were it not for God’s eXtravagant grace.

( Y ) God’s love yearns for what is best. He has promised to work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). He will not rest until he has accomplished this. He who began a good work (in us and in His kingdom purposes) will be faithful to complete it.

( Z ) God’s love is zealous for us. He never loses His zeal for our salvation and sanctification; and He will accoomplish our ultimate glorification as we come to live forever with Him and are complete in Him, becoming like Christ in purity.

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This post was written by Cynthia Boyd and was inspired by the awesome and limitless love of God, with the help of the prompting provided by the message of the Valentine used as the illustration for this post.

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Do you know Jesus?

The decision to ask Jesus to come into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior is the best decision you could ever make! The one true God is ready to give you forgiveness and eternal life as soon as you understand your need for Him and believe on the name of His only Son, Jesus, for your salvation. Here’s a blog page link to help you find the answers to your questions about Jesus. http://www.familysong.wordpress.com/do-you-know-jesus/

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A Little Boydie told me…

Just a reg’lar Mom in a house full of boys

praise4ever

praise4ever

I'm a busy wife and mother of 7, with 6 incredible boys still at home and a beautiful married daughter. Our boys range in age from our 10 year old twins to our 22 year old. We have 2 in Elementary School, 2 in Middle School, one in High School, and one High School grad. They are all incredible and special. One of our boys has special needs. I'm a musician, singer, writer, composer, blogger, and teacher. I'm thankful for our home and family, for Travis, my amazing husband of 39 years, and for family and friends near and far. Most of all, I'm thankful for God's grace and mercy and that He has given the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

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Giving a Song to say “Thank You”

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

Travis L. Boyd / WorshipSounds Music

As a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband and a father of 7, and a Minister of Music and Worship, I am very blessed. For a total of 32 years, I have served as a Minister of Worship for some wonderful congregations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, and Georgia. It is a joy to lead God's people in worshipping Him through music, and I am very blessed to serve at First Baptist Church of Duluth, Georgia. I'm also a composer, lyricist, arranger, and orchestrator, with choral anthems, songs, and orchestrations published by Shawnee Press (now with Hal Leonard), Lorenz, Choristers Guild, and Lifeway. My web-based music publishing site, WorshipSounds Music (formerly Boydbrain Music), offers Choral Anthems, Orchestrations, Congregational Praise, and Vocal Solo music. Our worship blog has become an extension of worship ministry, and it is a privelege to share information and inspiration with other worshippers. My desire is to glorify God through my life, ministry, and composition work. I believe that music is a wonderful way to communicate the truths of God's love and mercy and to glorify Him. My wife, Cindy, and I have been married for 36 years. We have 7 children. Daughter Meredith lives in Texas. Sons Jared, Zachary, Braden, Logan, Austin, and Camden range in age from 7 to 19 and are still living at home.

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